Writers Out of the Basement

A group of Dunedin writers have come out of the basement and into the studio to present readings of their original works on air.

OAR FM programme and podcast Basement Writers features prose and poetry from scribes who first met last year at a Literacy Aotearoa course on writing family stories.

The course was held at Literacy Aotearoa’s offices in the lower-level “basement” of the Carnegie Centre in Moray Place.

A collegial environment was quickly established, giving the group the confidence to expand their horizons, working with different styles and subjects.

Course participant Eleanor McGregor said that when the twelve-week programme concluded, the writers were keen to maintain the supportive relationships they had formed.

“The group was so wonderful. Even though the people in it were quite disparate, we got on really well together.

“We were all quite sad about the course finishing so were scratching around, looking for some other reason to keep it going.”

An article in The Star about making programmes with OAR FM sowed the seed for the next phase, and it was soon agreed that the group would take up the opportunity to broadcast and podcast each writer’s work.

Mac MacDonald, who started the Literacy Aotearoa course with the intention of fine-tuning his fiction writing skills but gravitated toward poetry at the encouragement of his colleagues, said there were a few nerves at the prospect of going public.

“That just adds a bit of spice to the experience. We all took to it like ducks to water, in our own individual ways.

“Being part of the show has been a terrific experience, one that has enhanced my life over the time I’ve been doing it.”

Basement Writers airs every second Saturday at 12.30pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, with podcasts available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Photo: Above ground: The Basement Writers group presents a programme on OAR FM Dunedin.

Contemporary Twist to Scottish Show

Scottish music is not all bagpipes and ballads, says Dunedin man Ron Mackintosh.

Not that the host of Scots Wha Hae on OAR FM Dunedin has anything against the traditional musical forms of his homeland, which will always have a place on the fortnightly programme. It’s just that there is a wealth of contemporary material to choose from, so the likes of Andy Stewart and Kenneth McKellar feature less frequently than the Proclaimers or the Corries.

Mr Mackintosh, on-air as Ron the Noo, says there will always be room for the songs of Robbie Burns. His admiration for the Scottish bard’s work grew out of a seven-year stint as host of Radio Dunedin show Calling All Scots.

“I’d studied Robbie Burns’ poetry when I was at school and, quite frankly, couldn’t understand it,” he says.

“Glasgow was not really a strong kilts and poetry kind of city, at least not then. So it wasn’t until I was working on my former radio show that Burns’ work began to mean more to me.”

Selections from Mr Macintosh’s collection were likely to include tracks seldom heard by a Dunedin audience, as well as music from Dunedin-based artists.

“There is a much greater awareness of Scottish music than there has ever been. Traditionally, it was people who came from Scotland who were homesick, so they listened to Scottish music programmes. It’s no longer like that.”

Through joining the organising committee for Dunedin’s St Andrews Day celebrations, and through hosting Scots Wha Hae, Mr Mackintosh had strengthened his own connection to Scotland.

“For a long time, I did not celebrate my Scottish heritage in the way I do now. These past few months presenting the programme have really pulled that together for me.”

Scots Wha Hae airs every second Sunday at 2pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, supported by Harrington Vaughan Academy of Hairdressing. Podcasts are available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Photo: Ron the Noo: Ron Mackintosh hosts Scottish music programme Scots Wha Hae on OAR FM Dunedin.

‘Good Yarns’ About Difference

A new programme and podcast on OAR FM Dunedin is promoting conversations about difference in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Amal Abdullahi is international student wellbeing lead with Silverline Otago, set up in 2017 for Otago University students, by students, to give them an opportunity to discuss self-care and mental health issues.

Ms Abdullahi said she approached OAR FM about creating her show Headscarves and Good Yarns after examining her own response to the events of 15 March.

“I saw a lot of conversations happening on Facebook and in real life, people talking about racism in New Zealand and how it wasn’t that big of a shock that (the shootings) happened here, and that we need to change if we want to avoid something like this happening again.

“All I could think about was that it’s awesome that people are thinking like that now but what’s going to happen in a couple of weeks or months? People are going to stop having these conversations, and that urgency for change is going to disappear.”

The radio show and podcast would be a forum for “good yarns”. Anyone who considered themselves to be different or who wanted to share their own experiences and stories was welcome to take part.

Civic and community leaders would also be invited to be part of the conversation.

“I’d like our leaders to talk about race and diversity in New Zealand, and how we’re going to navigate the change that’s needed,” said Ms Abdullahi.

While the programme would be traversing some heavy topics, the focus would be on positive approaches and outcomes.

“There will always be in-depth conversation but I never want it to come from a place of judgement or hate.”

Headscarves and Good Yarns airs Mondays at 7pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, with podcasts available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Photo: In-depth conversation: Amal Abdullahi hosts Headscarves and Good Yarns on OAR FM Dunedin.

Frank Programme on Sexuality

Sex and sexual health for people with disabilities are the focus of a new programme and podcast on OAR FM Dunedin.

To Be Frank is presented by educator and consultant Claire Ryan, who has worked in the disability sector for over 30 years, with more than 10 years’ experience in delivering training and workshops on sexuality.

Ms Ryan’s consultancy, also known as To Be Frank, was established in 2007. Over the years, she has worked with several disability agencies within the New Zealand Disability Support Network, as well as New Zealand schools and government agencies.

For people with disabilities, sex and sex education remains a taboo subject, she says.

“In my earlier work with service providers it was glaringly obvious that the people I got to work with, mainly who had intellectual impairment, weren’t having much intimacy in their lives.

“A conference on sexual abuse I attended in Auckland which was good but it made me think about the fact that within agencies we spent a lot of time creating policies on what people shouldn’t do, trying to protect disabled people from being sexual, and there wasn’t anything about what you can do and how you get started. It was all very risk averse, and I’m working to change that.”

Conversations around supporting people with disabilities should include talking about their sexuality, and services providers should not be surprised at clients wanting to form sexual relationships and express their sexuality.

“It’s still pretty disheartening that it comes as a big shock (to some service providers). It’s called inappropriate behaviour, and all the language around sexuality changes when referring to disabled people.

“Not everything is called a friendship. People do get to have relationships, and they have the right to get it wrong.”

A new episode of To Be Frank airs every second Thursday at 8.30pm, and is replayed at the same time on alternate Thursdays on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Mornings More OARsome

New timeslot: Jeff Harford hosts the OARsome Morning Show on OAR FM Dunedin.

Weekday mornings just got more OARsome at OAR FM Dunedin.

The community access station’s OARsome Morning Show now starts at 8am with a 90-minute format, shifting from its former hour-long 9am slot.

Station manager Lesley Paris said the move reflected OAR FM’s commitment to its Dunedin audience.

“With an earlier start, the show is now reaching listeners on the morning commute and doing the school run, as well as those at home and work.

“It’s good news for community-minded people who are interested in hearing about the people and events that make Dunedin such a vibrant place to live.”

OARsome Morning Show host and OAR FM Community Liaison Jeff Harford, who has fronted the magazine-style show for the past eight years, said he was enjoying the new format.

“With a ninety minute show, we can present the right balance of information and entertainment to keep Dunedin in touch with what’s happening in the city at a grassroots level. The mix of regular features, interviews and music is a great way to start the day. ”

Regular features include a Monday digest presented by Disability Information Service, a Tuesday morning round-up from Dunedin community boards, a fortnightly Wednesday spot with Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature, a Thursday chat with The Star chief reporter Brenda Harwood, and Friday morning’s Volunteering Otago Hotspot.

The Southern District Health Board and Otago Museum also provided guest interviews monthly.

Harford wants to hear from listeners about things to be shared with OAR FM’s local audience.

“If you’ve got a fundraiser, an open day, a public meeting or an exhibition coming up, let us know about it and we’ll tell Dunedin, on air and via our online Dunedin Community Noticeboard.”

The OARsome Morning Show airs weekdays from 8am to 9.30am on 105.4FM and 1575AM, with feature interview podcasts available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts. Contact jeff@oar.org.nz.

Radio Series On University 150th

This year, University of Otago celebrates its 150th anniversary, bringing together students, staff, alumni and the wider Dunedin community for a busy programme of events.

On OAR Dunedin’s new programme Daring to be Wise, educators, administrators and those whose time at Otago made a lasting impression share their inspirational stories, creating a collection of interviews that will serve as both a snapshot of university life in 2019 and a record of the institution’s history to date.

The interviews are hosted by OAR FM Community Liaison Jeff Harford, host of the OARsome Morning Show, with a new episode airing for each week of the anniversary year.

Episodes to date have included conversations with 150th Celebrations Project Co-ordinator Kerry Buchan, University of Otago Chancellor Dr Royden Somerville QC, and Dunedin mayor Dave Cull.

Ms Buchan said there was “something for everyone” in the programme of anniversary events.

“The university really wishes to engage with the community, alumni, existing staff and students, so we’ve based the year’s celebrations on a strong academic programme, a strong sporting and cultural flavour, a spiritual component and celebration of our Maori and Pacific divisions.”

Daring To Be Wise airs on Tuesdays at noon, with replays on Wednesdays at 5pm and Sundays at 8.30pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, with podcasts available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Photo: Something for everyone: University of Otago 150th Celebrations Project Co-ordinator Kerry Buchan is one of the guests on OAR FM programme Daring To Be Wise.

Indigenous Perspective on Arts


Photo: Indigenous perspectives: (from left) Vicki Lenihan, Irene Karongo Hundleby and Lou Kewene-Doig hosts Natives Be Woke on OAR FM Dunedin.

Three Dunedin women are exploring the connections between creativity, technology and the indigenous world in a multi-platform programme that taps into their collective interests in music and the arts.

Natives Be Woke: Taihoa E Hoa is the brainchild of artist, producer and educator Lou Kewene-Doig, sculptor, writer and arts advisor Vicki Lenihan and ethnomusicologist, storyteller and arts advocate Dr Irene Karongo Hundleby.

The programme is broadcast and podcast from OAR FM Dunedin, and via vlog (video blog) from YouTube.

The show’s hosts believed the perspectives of Maori and Pacific Island women were missing from mainstream coverage of the arts. Stimulated by their own regular conversations on the topic, they successfully sought funding support from Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s Suffrage 125 initiative to create a mechanism for wider discussion.

Ms Kewene-Doig said it was important to make the show accessible, hence the decision to use video and audio platforms.

“We’re interested in unique views of what is happening in the world,” she said.

“Between us, we have the technical expertise to not only talk about these things but to show what we’re talking about, in as many cool ways as we can.”

Ms Hundleby said contributions from the programme’s audience were welcomed.

“The vlog enables us to get a response back from people. We really encourage people to engage with us and tell us their stories, to help build this discussion further.

“Culturally, multiple views within the collective is what we try to reproduce in another way, using technology.”

The next edition of Natives Be Woke: Taihoa E Hoa airs on Saturday 8 December at 2pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, with podcasts available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

A Voice for South Asian Women

The voice of South Asian women should be stronger in contemporary discussions of feminism, says a local broadcaster.

Swaroopa Unni hosts fortnightly programme HerStory on OAR FM Dunedin. The show features profiles of Indian and South Asian women who have made a contribution to the women’s movement.

“The feminist discourse is mostly from the Western perspective,” said Ms Unni.

“The voices of women from South Asia have to come forward. We’re always on the fringes and we need more visibility.”

HerStory was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of “everyday women, artists, performers, and women from mythology or legend”.

“It could be my mother, grandmother, auntie or friend. These women are sometimes not recognised for the effort they have put in.”

Ms Unni is founder and choreographer of Dunedin’s Natyaloka School of Indian Dance. Her ‘liberal” upbringing instilled a confidence to voice her opinions and make decisions about career and family that not all South Asian women enjoyed.

“Some women are entrapped in patriarchal ideas of how and what a woman should be. Most of the time these definitions do not take into account what a woman wants.

“I’ve seen the struggles that my friends and family members have gone through, so compared to that I’m definitely more privileged. There are women who can’t do as they wish, but that doesn’t mean they are not talented and are not part of the women’s movement.”

The radio show had so far included profiles of Indian freedom fighter Savitribai Phule, Indian-born American astronaut Kalpana Chawla and Carnatic singer, cultural activist and scholar Bangalore Nagarathnamma.

Podcasts could be downloaded and shared from oar.org.nz.

HerStory airs fortnightly on Mondays at 7.30pm.

LISTEN TO PODCASTS

Photo: Recognising women: Swaroopa Unni hosts HerStory on OAR FM Dunedin.

Never Ending Journey Into Rock

A journey into the history of rock and roll that began on radio six and a-half years ago shows no sign of nearing an end.

Dunedin man Warren Voight hosts 360 Degrees ’Round Wazrock on OAR FM Dunedin, an hour-long exploration of a music genre he has dedicated a lifetime to, along with a fair amount of spare change.

With a personal collection of albums and singles, 78s, CDs, books and other ephemera that numbers around 5000 items, and a “wants list” that never seems to shorten, Mr Voight is not short of material for his radio show and podcast. It is made to be shared, he says, because “music is part of who we all are”.

From bouncing on his father’s knee to the sounds of Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley and His Comets to purchasing his first long player 26 Solid Gold Rock ‘n’ Roll Hits as a teen, Mr Voight’s earliest musical experiences remain sharp in his memory. Teenage years spent listening to glam rock and heavy rock peaked a curiosity in the roots of these more flashy forms of the genre.

“It all started with Appalachian mountain music, the seedbed of what we know as modern music, along with the Jewish music hall tradition and other early forms.”

First going to air in September 2011, Wazrock had explored those country music influences before traversing blues, bluegrass, swing, the big-band era and the jive scene. It was then on to early rhythm and blues, rockabilly and the English beat groups.

“I’ve predominantly focused on that side of the Atlantic, so far. Now the show is heading into glam rock, which had a big part to play in reviving the fun side of music. It was getting a bit dirgy there in the seventies, with prog rock and the rest of it.”

The show would then “double back”, with future episodes exploring the American beat groups and bands of the 1970s. New Zealand and Australian acts would also feature, as there was “a couple of years’ worth in that”.

“I’ll look into all the main artists, because they’re always important, but I also want to touch back on the lesser artists that often get overlooked. It’s never ending, really.”

360 Degrees ’Round Wazrock airs on Saturdays at 3pm on OAR FM Dunedin 105.4FM and 1575AM.

Podcasts are Available Here

Photo: Shared collection: Warren Voight hosts 360 Degrees ’Round Wazrock on OAR FM Dunedin.

Podcasts Explore Wild Dunedin

A series of podcasts exploring our relationship with local wildlife is complementing the Wild Dunedin Festival that launches in Dunedin tomorrow.

Wild Dunedin Podcasts are the brainchild of Otago Museum science communicator Claire Concannon and University of Otago conservation biologist Jamie McAulay. The episodes air on OAR FM Dunedin and can be downloaded from the station’s website and several other podcast platforms.

Mr McAulay said the pair were “blown away” by last year’s Wild Dunedin festival and decided to seek the festival’s support to create an audio resource for this year’s events.

“We’re both big fans of well-produced podcasts where you can tell a story quite carefully, in a narrative kind of way. So we have a pretty open approach to how we do that, using sound effects, voice and music.”

University researchers and local wildlife experts had contributed to conversations over the six-episode series and had assisted with sourcing soundbites, such as bird and animal calls. Dunedin-based musician and educator Molly Devine had composed instrumental pieces for use as an ethereal backdrop to stories of the natural world.

Ms Concannon said there was a wealth of relevant knowledge that could be tapped into to promote interest in the flora and fauna of Dunedin. The podcast series and the Wild Dunedin festival were designed to encourage locals to better appreciate the “huge diversity at our doorstep”.

“The idea is to get the local community to fully embrace this incredible wildlife that’s around us, and also to understand what the wildlife needs from us so that we can share this space.”

Topics for Wild Dunedin Podcasts included migratory journeys, the work of Predator Free Dunedin, the prospect of southern right whales returning to Otago Harbour, sea lions of the Otago Peninsula, and the endemic plants and other “little things” often ignored.

Gecko smuggling would also get a mention, said Mr McAulay.

“We tell a story of why people are wanting to put these geckos in their undies and fly around the world with them.”

Wild Dunedin Podcasts air on Tuesdays at 3pm and Sundays at 6pm on OAR FM Dunedin 105.4FM and 1575AM.

Podcasts are available HERE

Photo: Wild stories: Claire Concannon and Jamie McAulay host Wild Dunedin Podcasts on OAR FM Dunedin.